The 100th movie from Takashi Miike is coming to the UK on the big screen.
It’s been a while since we have witnessed Japanese live-action adaptations of anime & manga in the UK cinema. Warner Bros put out the entire Rurouni Kenshin trilogy as well as Kuroshitsuji (Black Butler), while Manga released the Shingeki no Kyojin (Attack on Titan) films with limited screenings. Now Arrow Films have announced earlier in the year that they plan to release the next Japanese film based on a manga to the UK with Blade of the Immortal. Blade of the Immortal is the latest directorial work from Takashi Miike, known for producing 99 other works such as 13 Assassins, Ichi the Killer, and recently JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable Chapter 1. Arrow Films acquired the UK rights from the Cannes Film Festival.
Blade of the Immortal (Mugen no Jūnin) is a very well-known seinen manga series written by Hiroaki Samura, and had 30 volumes released between 1993 to 2012. It was also one of Dark Horse’s most popular manga titles in their catalogue and has recently been re-released in a special omnibus that includes 3 volumes per set. The manga was released in English using the left-to-right format which was common during the early days of manga localisation, but the author requested that it not be “flipped” so Dark Horse obliged. So rather than having the pages flipped, Dark Horse used a rare method of cutting up the panels and rearranging them so that the story flows from left-to-right rather than right-to-left.
The live-action film stars Takuya Kimura (2046), Hana Sugisaki (Mozu: The Movie), Sota Fukushi (Library Wars), Hayato Ichihara (Yakuza Apocalypse), Erika Toda (Goemon), Ebizo Ichikawa (Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai), Tsutomu Yamazaki (As the Gods Will) and Min Tanaka (The Eternal Zero).
Samurai Manji has taken a lot of lives, both innocent and guilty, and now lives life in feudal Japan as a criminal. After being cursed with immortality until he kills enough evil men, Manji meets a young girl who enlists him to be her body-guard. Swearing loyalty, protection and vengeance against the group of sword fighters who slaughtered her family, the unlikely duo set on a remarkable quest to make right against those who did them wrong.
UPDATE (30th Sept)! Arrow Films have confirmed that the Japanese live-action adaptation will be given a UK theatrical release starting Friday 8th December 2017 in Japanese audio with English subtitles. The film has been granted a BBFC rating of 18 uncut for strong bloody violence. The film is also around 140 minutes long which is just around the same length that each Rurouni Kenshin film were. The film will eventually see a Blu-ray & DVD release from Arrow Films sometime later down the line. To celebrate the upcoming UK theatrical release the distributor has showed off the UK poster:
Dark Horse have released the original manga source material in print while MVM Entertainment have released the anime adaptation from studio Production I.G on DVD.